Do you ever feel like Dr. Rick Marshall? You know, the poor guy that Will Ferrell plays in the movie Land of the Lost.
The official storyline goes like this (don’t worry, no plot spoilers here):
Will Ferrell stars as has-been scientist Dr. Rick Marshall, sucked into a space-time vortex and spat back through time. Way back. Now, Marshall has no weapons, few skills and questionable smarts to survive in an alternate universe full of marauding dinosaurs and fantastic creatures from beyond our world - a place of spectacular sights and super-scaled comedy known as the Land of the Lost…Escape from this routine expedition gone awry and they're heroes. Get stuck, and they'll be permanent refugees in the Land of the Lost. (Source: About.com.)
To sum up: space/time vortexes suck…
I remember watching reruns of the television version of Land of the Lost (yes, I basically had no life…what was I supposed to do before Al Gore invented the internet?) - and I fer sure had many intense nightmares involving the Sleestaks. Even though I knew they were just Hollywood extras in green pajamas, they still freaked me out.
So back to my original question: do you ever feel like Dr. Marshall? Not in a “I’m a scientist who went back in time” sorta way. Rather in a “sometimes I get the feeling that I really don’t belong here” sensation - and you’re not really sure why.
Would you like to know why? I know that for me personally, it was very helpful to put the puzzle pieces together and form a clear picture that explained my odd sense of detachment from the world around me. See if these words are helpful:
Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears (1 Peter 2:11-12 NET Bible).
When you trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation and became His follower, something radical changed in the location of your “home.” In a sense, you went through a spiritual vortex that made you a “foreigner” and “exile” on this planet. Your permanent residence now is in heaven, which makes this present world a “land of the lost.”
This is why you feel like you’re in a daily battle - obviously not with a T-Rex and Sleestaks, rather with your old way of thinking and looking at the world. You turn on the radio, or watch the MTV awards, or even listen to the conversations in the hallway, and you realize that there is something seriously wrong with this world, and you need to fight the temptation to give up the fight.
The Message translation of 1 Peter 2:11-12 puts it like this:
Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
So what’s the best way to escape from the “land of the lost”? Obviously we can’t physically escape until Jesus returns or we die, but there is a spiritual escape that will really help you in the daily battle to survive as a Christian in a world of deadly worldviews and lethal temptations:
All these people (heroes and martyrs for God) died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13-16).
When I feel like an alien and stranger in a selfish and self-seeking culture that thinks money can make you happy and pleasure is the goal of life, I think about home. My home is in heaven in the presence of Jesus Christ…and in the words of Maximus in Gladiator: “What we do in life echoes in eternity.”
What will be your echoes when you leave this “land of the lost”?
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
In the last part of the 1 Peter 2 passage, we are encouraged to do this:
Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
In other words, your faith in Jesus should be lived out so loudly that your friends really want to know what makes you different. This week, talk to your friends about what makes you a ‘stranger’ in this world and share the great news of the gospel!
Accelerant: Feed the Fire
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20).
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2).
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God (James 4:4).
Big Idea: Christians are aliens and strangers in this world because we’ve been given a new and eternal home in heaven.
• Key Scripture: 1 Peter 2:11-12
• Alt-ernative Questions:
When have you felt like a spiritual stranger?
How does the world ‘wage war’ against our soul?
How can focusing on heaven make it easier when we feel like strangers and the world persecutes us?
What are some ways you could apply this truth to your life?
Lane Palmer serves as a writer for Dare 2 Share Ministries (D2S) in Arvada, Colorado, a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teenagers to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information about D2S, please visit www.dare2share.org.